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Insurgency: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted Kindle Edition
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“A bracing account of how the party of Lincoln and Reagan was hijacked by gadflies and grifters who reshaped their movement into becoming an anti-democratic cancer that attacked the U.S. Capitol.”—Joe Scarborough
An epic narrative chronicling the fracturing of the Republican Party, Jeremy Peters’s Insurgency is the story of a party establishment that believed it could control the dark energy it helped foment—right up until it suddenly couldn’t. How, Peters asks, did conservative values that Republicans claimed to cherish, like small government, fiscal responsibility, and morality in public service, get completely eroded as an unshakable faith in Donald Trump grew to define the party?
The answer is a tale traced across three decades—with new reporting and firsthand accounts from the people who were there—of populist uprisings that destabilized the party. The signs of conflict were plainly evident for anyone who cared to look. After Barack Obama’s election convinced many Republicans that they faced an existential demographics crossroads, many believed the only way to save the party was to create a more inclusive and diverse coalition. But party leaders underestimated the energy and popular appeal of those who would pull the party in the opposite direction. They failed to see how the right-wing media they hailed as truth-telling was warping the reality in which their voters lived. And they did not understand the complicated moral framework by which many conservatives would view Trump, leading evangelicals and one-issue voters to shed Republican orthodoxy if it delivered a Supreme Court that would undo Roe v. Wade.
In this sweeping history, Peters details key junctures and episodes to unfurl the story of a revolution from within. Its architects had little interest in the America of the new century but a deep understanding of the iron will of a shrinking minority. With Trump as their polestar, their gamble paid greater dividends than they’d ever imagined, extending the life of far-right conservatism in United States domestic policy into the next half century.
“Insurgency is persuasive in suggesting that the long-term transformation of the Republican Party is one in which a style of politics has overpowered, and then suffocated, any remnant of its substance.”—The Washington Post
“Highly readable . . . From 2016 to the Capitol riot, Jeremy Peters delivers a meticulously reported and extremely worrying tale of how and why the U.S. came to this. . . . Peters chronicles how the party of Lincoln and Reagan morphed into Trump’s own fiefdom. He writes with a keen eye and sharp pen. . . . His book is chilling.”—The Guardian
“Peters seems to have been present and reporting at every significant turn in the Republican road, watching the party gradually shed its country club image in favor of pickup trucks and gun racks.”—NPR
“Jeremy Peters is one of the nation’s best reporters, with an unrivaled eye for detail and the often-hard-to-see dynamics driving political movements and key players. He tracks Republican politics like a detective, taking years to discover revealing clues in dark corners and to meet with critical witnesses. He follows the story, calmly and relentlessly, and reveals what is really happening.”—Robert Costa, bestselling co-author of Peril
“Insurgency is a compelling investigation and a groundbreaking political narrative filled with fascinating original reporting on how the Republican Party evolved over the years to become the party of Donald Trump. . . . A must-read by a first-rate reporter for anyone who cares about politics and the future of our democratic system.”—Andrea Mitchell
“Peters has written the definitive account of the devolution of the GOP into full-metal Trumpism. In searing detail—including the fateful role of Sarah Palin—he documents how Trump tapped into the suspicion, anxiety, anger, and cultural grievance that had been festering for years on the right.”—Charles Sykes, founder of The Bulwark and author of How the Right Lost Its Mind
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
★ ★ ★
The Tip of the Spear
Sarah Palin and the “Dennis Miller Republican”
I will put Alaskans first.
—Governor Sarah Palin, inaugural address, December 4, 2006
Air Force One broke through the dense layer of clouds over Fairbanks on its descent into Eielson Air Force Base, a sprawling, remote outpost in the most remote state in the union. In what would be one of the last international trips of his presidency, George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were on their way to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics. But first they would stop at Eielson to refuel and to meet with troops and their families stationed at bases across the vast forty-ninth state.
One in twelve people in Alaska were members of the military or their dependents. The state had shouldered a disproportionate share of the losses and casualties from the nation’s engagement in the Middle East, which was about to enter its seventh year. More than two hundred airmen from Eielson were presently deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries around the world. Scores from other Alaskan bases would soon join them. Bush was there to be the grateful commander in chief: to deliver a pep talk, thank them for their sacrifices, and assure them that deployments weren’t going to be open-ended. In military communities like these across the country, a new reality had set in. Many people had long gotten past the shock of the September 11th attacks and the swell of patriotism that followed. They weren’t convinced the wars in the Middle East were a conflict Americans should be fighting in anymore. Bush would acknowledge the fatigue when he spoke. “These have been tough times on our families,” Bush said. He reminded his audience that their sacrifices were in the interest of America’s mission to keep the homeland safe, and to export the “transformative power of liberty” to places that needed it most. “The terrorists will be denied a safe haven, and freedom is on the march,” the president said, framing the issue in the rhetoric of black-and-white moral clarity he preferred. “I know free societies yield the peace we all want.”
But it wasn’t just the American heartland that had grown weary. The consensus in the Republican Party that Bush was keeping America safe by maintaining a robust military presence in the Middle East had considerable cracks in it. Republicans in Congress were concerned that the public’s impatience with these two costly wars was setting them up for an even bigger defeat on Election Day than the “thumping” they saw—a Bush colloquialism—in the 2006 midterm elections. Some had insisted that future funding for the war be tied to certain benchmarks that the Iraqi government would have to meet. No more blank checks, no more open-ended timetables for troop deployments.
There was one military mother in the crowd that day, August 4, 2008, who was typical in many ways of the family members of the enlisted. Her nineteen-year-old son was set to ship off when he finished his training in a few weeks. She was conflicted—apprehensive but also proud and idealistic about the higher calling he would serve. As a Republican, she was committed to the idea that keeping the country safe meant bringing the might of the American military to the enemy, wherever the enemy tried to hide. She had ambition, agency, and desires of her own. And when the White House reached out to see if she and her family would like to meet the president at Eielson, she said yes right away.
Before Bush met with her and the other military families, he scanned his briefing materials on Air Force One and committed to memory any relevant or unique biographical details about them. But this one mother’s last name stopped him. Never known for his mastery of the tongue, Bush wasn’t sure how to pronounce it. He turned to Laura and asked what she thought.
“Is it Pal-in?” the president asked, sounding the name out as if it rhymed with “gallon.” The First Lady jumped in to the rescue: “It’s Pay-lin.”
Bush, the self-styled “compassionate conservative” who campaigned on the promise that he was “a uniter, not a divider,” had no idea when he stepped off the presidential 747 that afternoon that he was meeting the woman who in one month would be the biggest star in Republican politics—a hybrid celebrity-politician who would torch the model of noblesse oblige leadership that he and his family had personified during three generations in public service. While Palin and Bush were members of the same political party, they were from entirely distinct worlds that were pulling ever further apart. She hadn’t yet experienced the bitterness of being elevated to the national stage only to have some of the GOP’s most powerful figures trash her anonymously in the media as a “whack job” and a “diva.” She didn’t yet know how many Republican voters would see their own aspirations and resentments reflected in her experiences. And she hadn’t yet met the “hardened version of her son she would describe when he returned home from war for good several years later.
The Republicans who thought she was just the populist spark Senator John McCain needed to invigorate his presidential campaign hadn’t yet seen how they were entering into a Faustian bargain and enabling the vehicle for their own destruction. The forty-third president was vaguely aware of the chatter about Palin as a dark horse vice presidential contender for McCain. But he hadn’t given it much thought beyond the attempt he made at a humorous icebreaker when he met her that afternoon.
“Madam Vice President!” Bush exclaimed, extending his hand.
Sarah Palin was only thirty-two when she was elected mayor of Wasilla, the small city where she had spent most of her childhood. It sits in Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley, where glaciers and wilderness meet the exurban sprawl of Anchorage, about forty-five minutes to the south. The area was known for its high concentration of evangelical Christians, earning it the nickname “the Bible Belt of Alaska.” It had higher poverty rates than its big-city neighbor. The location and demographics were not incidental in the creation of Palin’s political identity. In certain crowds, saying someone was from “The Valley” carried a class stigma that many of its residents didn’t appreciate. And that tension was never far from the surface in local politics. Memorably, it erupted in a messy episode in 2004 when the son of Senator Ted Stevens, a towering figure in the state who had represented Alaska in Washington for four decades, called a woman from Palin’s hometown “valley trash” in an email. The woman leaked the correspondence to the local media, igniting a backlash from outraged Valley denizens. They didn’t take the slight lying down, and some even tried to reclaim the label with T-shirts that said proud to be valley trash. Outwardly, Palin wore her “Valley Trash” identity with pride. Inside, she resented it. “Rightly or wrongly, the chip on her shoulder was always from the sense that ‘You guys look down on us,’ ” says Lindsay Hayes, who worked for Stevens and later joined Palin’s speechwriting team when she became the vice presidential nominee. She reserved much of her disdain for those she believed wanted to stop people like her without the right background and pedigree from advancing in state politics—none more so than the “good ol’ boys” she antagonized in the Alaska GOP. “She felt, ‘We’re the ones who do all the work. You’re corrupt. You’re making money hand over fist. Who the hell do you guys think you are?’ ” Hayes adds.
- ASIN : B08DMWFRC1
- Publisher : Crown (February 8, 2022)
- Publication date : February 8, 2022
- Language : English
- File size : 6250 KB
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- Print length : 420 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0525576584
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*The growing antipathy toward conventional Washington politics, manifesting itself in the populist Tea Party movement, and translating into a Republican gain of congressional seats in the 2010 midterms, foreshadowed the events of January 6, 2021. A number of those legislators, who benefited from the populism sweeping the nation little more than a decade prior, were potential victims of the mob storming the Capitol.
*While the Trump era represents its nadir, the Republican Party’s transformation to “The Party Of Trump” has been simmering for decades over a boiling cauldron of irreconcilable GOP versions of conservatism.
*Trump’s excoriation of Vice President Mike Pence, for failing to preempt Biden’s certification, gave witness to his demand for unmitigated loyalty, even if such obeisance called for committing collusion. In an interview with the author, the former president downplayed the rioters’ verbal threats to Pence by dismissing them as mere hyperbole.
*Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate in 2008, is a prototypical link bridging the transition from the populist Tea Party to the populism of the Trump era. Her 2006 victory in the Alaska governor’s race served to propel her into the national spotlight as a rising star, lavishly promoted by conservative media. Despite Palin’s skimpy resume, McCain took a calculated risk by naming her as second on the ticket, rather than going with his original inclination to pick veteran congressman, Joe Lieberman, a move that would have ineluctably incensed the GOP’s conservative element. Logic dictated that Palin would balance the ticket by appealing to a new breed of young Republicans comprising the anti-establishment wing of the party.
*As her popularity exploded among the masses of the GOP electorate, Palin’s demand for greater autonomy in message was initially met by resistance from McCain’s advisors. However, on the campaign trail, she was given increasingly wide latitude to slander Obama, questioning his patriotism while alleging a tie to terrorists. While the vitriol was off-putting to those in the GOP who were inclined to more civil discourse, it served to inflame the passions of those mesmerized by Palin’s delivery. Abetted by Fox News and like purveyors of disinformation, Palin’s attacks against Obama took on a life of their own. Her divisive rhetoric effectively tapped into the disaffection of a growing number of aggrieved whites who felt abandoned by the Republican establishment.
* Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, right wing media personalities and fierce critics of the Obama Administration, became the faces of the Republican Party in the eyes of the populist movement.
*The Tea Party movement mounted widespread protests against big government, and railed against government programs in general. Economically, Tea Partiers claimed betrayal by the Republican establishment.
*Social conservatives coalesced to denounce GOP moderates, targeting those who supported abortion rights and gay marriage. Organized coalitions, effused with religious zeal, were willing to unseat seasoned incumbents with questionable primary candidates, even at the risk of falling to a democrat in the general election. A clear message was being sent to the Republican establishment; the ideological needle was moving precipitously to the right.
*The Obama presidency served to hasten the transformation of the Republican Party, the GOP articulating a more radicalized conservative voice, while effectively muting the dwindling moderates in the process. Discourse and compromise, so essential when considering bipartisan legislation, yielded to recalcitrance and dogma.
*In a 2010 preview of his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump, exploiting his celebrity via a sympathetic conservative news cycle, amplified his megaphone condemning Cordoba, a controversial Muslim community center development near Ground Zero. It was during this period that Steve Bannon, Trump’s presidential chief strategist, was introduced to the future Commander In Chief. In a calculated measure to foment fear, the construction site was billed as the future home of a mosque. Anti Muslim sentiment gained momentum, perpetuated by nationwide protests featuring the Tea Party movement. Andrew Breitbart, owing to egregious violations of journalistic ethics and standards, capitalized on the zenophobic misinformation disseminated on his website. Trump, gauging the anti-Cordoba momentum, launched a personal vendetta against the project, thereby ingratiating himself to the aggrieved populist masses.
*Those in the Republican establishment, such as Roger Ailes, sought to exploit the energy of the Tea Party movement to their advantage. Ailes translated his political savvy, honed by years of advising successful political campaigns, into the running of a conservative cable network empire. He personally challenged Barack Obama’s citizenship and patriotism. Glen Beck, of Fox News, was blatantly vitriolic in his tirades against Obama and his Administration. Beck’s populist appeal and encouragement, inspired neophyte, politically unqualified candidates, to run and ultimately be elected to Congress during the 2010 midterms. The Republican rout was clearly draped in an anti establishment message.
*By general consensus, the 2012 Republican primary was shaping up to be a contest between the maverick, Sarah Palin, and the insider, Mitt Romney. Adding a new dimension to the 2012 race, Donald Trump, in teasing a run for the presidency, was perhaps testing the waters for a possible 2016 nomination. The healthcare albatross around Romney’s neck left him vulnerable to attack. The stigma of elitist followed him throughout the campaign and served to alienate him from working class Republicans. His lack of a killer instinct fed into the impression that he was a weak candidate. Albeit, with Palin and Trump declining to enter the race, Romney essentially backed into the nomination. Ultimately, Obama was elected by a comfortable margin to a second term, while Donald Trump immediately started laying the groundwork for 2016.
*The GOP post mortem to the 2012 defeat in the presidential election highlighted a party out of touch with the trending populist voter. The message articulated by Mitt Romney, viewed as the quintessential establishment conservative, failed to resonate with a shifting voter demographic. The perception among a growing number of middle class Americans held that, unlike the “Party of Reagan”, the present day GOP, in abandoning them, had become a party of elites. There existed a pervasive feeling that the Party was completely out of touch with their day to day struggles. Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk, exploited populist disaffection by vilifying immigration reform as an impending threat to Middle America.
*Pat Buchanan, running a nativist campaign in the 1992 Republican Presidential Primary, appealed to the nationalist sentiments informing a noticeable wave of populism sweeping across America. Trailing in the polls by a wide margin to George H.W. Bush, he lambasted the incumbent for failure to secure the border. Following the Bush nomination, Buchanan lobbied for and was granted a prime time slot at the convention, delivering a broadside from which the nominee’s campaign never recovered, with Bush ultimately losing to Clinton in the general election. Integration reform continued to be a GOP internecine bone of contention leading into the 2014 midterm primaries, with the anti-immigration faction prevailing. Stephen Miller, a minor GOP operative in 2014, played a key role in switching the narrative from legal to economic by portraying immigration as a threat to American jobs.
*While speaking to an anti-immigration audience at the 2014 New Hampshire Freedom Summit, characteristically veering off script, Donald Trump received a rousing ovation when he boasted of building a secure border fence. By 2015, with the mainstream media failing to take him seriously, Trump was gaining momentum with the radical right. His narcissistic demeanor, style over substance, and crude vernacular notwithstanding, Trump’s populist message resonated with anti-establishment Republicans, witnessed by his steady bump in the polls. He demonstrated an uncanny ability to exploit his target audience’s distrust of the party machine by playing the role of victim, while portraying the RNC establishment as victimizers potentially spinning the nomination to a more conventional candidate. His message was well received by traditionally Democratic leaning unions when he drew a correlation between immigration and job loss for the American worker.
*During the initial stages of his Republican Primary campaign, Donald Trump was anathema to the politically connected social conservatives, particularly among anti-abortion activists, due to his documented record as a pro-choice advocate. Yet, inexplicably and defying convention, Trump, in the midst of his obscenities, base behavior, and reprehensible personal and professional background, was enthusiastically embraced by the evangelical flock of believers.
*The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, coupled with the GOP’s refusal to consider a replacement on Obama’s watch, set the stage for Trump to appoint a conservative nominee in 2016. Landing the endorsements from high profile conservatives, such as Phyllis Schafley, was conditional on his commitment to that end. The litmus test for the eventual nominee would be the willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade. Trump provided his list of prospective candidates, each of which fulfilled this requirement.
*By all accounts, Jeb Bush had the name recognition, funding apparatus, critical endorsements, and credibility to capture the 2016 Republican nomination in the uncharacteristically crowded field of candidates. However, the GOP electorate was enamored with a candidate possessing a disparate set of credentials; celebrity versus character, a voiceferous bravado versus a measured tone, nationalistic and xenophobic versus welcoming and multicultural, an inciter in the mold of a Donald Trump. Bush was unjustly tarred as a Washington insider, irrespective of the fact that the totality of his political tenure had been spent at the state, versus federal, level. He seemed to inherit the baggage, both real and imagined, that his father and brother had left behind upon their respective exits from the White House. To Bush’s credit, he steadfastly refused to sacrifice his principles at the altar of convenience for the sake of arresting his race’s downward spiral in the polls.
*Donald Trump and his campaign lowered the bar on negative campaigning against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. He countered media coverage of his own sexual improprieties by relentlessly promoting conspiracy theories involving Bill Clinton’s sexual exploits and disparaging Hillary as a ruthless persecutor of his purported victims. For maximum exposure, Trump’s advisers paraded the former president’s accusers live, in full view of a national television audience, during a presidential debate.
*The nadir of the anti-Clinton conspiracy theories was the infamously surreal Pizzagate scandal, which implicated the Clintons in a child sex ring, the illusion fabricated by Hillary’s apocryphally decoded, hacked emails.
*There was a collective gasp among evangelical Christians when the Access Hollywood tape broke; however, their ultimate support for Trump was largely predicated on the rationale that he was the lesser of two evils. Their allegiance would be rewarded, with one of their own, running mate Mike Pence, spearheading the President elect’s transition team, and ensuring that fellow evangelicals were well represented in the newly minted Trump Administration.
*Inexplicably, on election night, Trump’s victory speech was uncharacteristically conciliatory, considerably more measured in tone than his standard campaign diatribes, and noticeably more inclusive. Albeit, the moment would prove to be an empty gesture, as the President’s inaugural address rather appealed to his evangelical social conservative base, whose leadership would enjoy unprecedented access to the White House and an open line of communication with an obliging President.
*In November 2017, responding to allegations from four women to the Washington Post that, while they were teenagers, during his tenure as assistant DA, Alabama Republican senatorial candidate, Judge Roy Moore, had sexually molested them, conservatives claimed that the accused victimizer was the victim of a left wing conspiracy. Despite Moore being an overwhelming favorite among Trump supporters, the President reluctantly relented to pressure from the establishment wing of the senate, grudgingly endorsing the palatable kGOP incumbent, Luther Strange. Yet, at a pivotal televised campaign rally, where Strange assured the Alabama electorate that he was Trump’s candidate, the President, after his customary playing to the crowd, gave at best a lackluster nod to Strange, opening the door for a convincing primary win for Roy Moore. Steve Bannon, taking up the drumbeat for Moore, barnstorming for the controversial candidate during the general election campaign cycle, in a pitch particularly directed to evangelicals, vented that the opposition was out to destroy not only Moore, but by extension them. In the final analysis, the Bannon fed momentum failed to carry Moore across the finish line, as he lost to Democrat Doug Jones by the narrowest of margins. The nomination and ultimate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court proved to be the timely antidote to the Roy Moore fiasco, rejuvenating a sagging Trump presidency among the power brokers of the Republican Party.
*During Donald Trump’s tenure as president, the autonomy and independence of GOP legislators to legislate, as well as the legislative body’s traditional prerogative to place checks on the executive branch, became casualties to an overreaching autocrat, who was quick to declare anathema those having the temerity to deviate from the Trump dictated party line. There were a few Republicans in Congress who possessed both the mettle and willingness to jeopardize their political careers for the sake of standing on the side of truth; yet, there were a far greater number who were all too willing to forsake conscience for political expediency. However, lost in the vociferousness of the perceived Trump juggernaut was the underestimated scores of Republican voters, both moderates and conservatives, who felt the transformed party had abandoned them, culminating with the Democrats gaining the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections.
*Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were at the forefront of ultra conservative media celebrities who perpetually hammered home the theme, to a mesmerized and gullible viewership, that Donald Trump was the victim of a vast left wing conspiracy. Trump engagingly fueled and reinforced this image of a maligned president via his twitter account. But, perhaps most disconcerting was his uncanny ability, during rallies and personal appearances, to incite a rabid mob of followers to the brink of violence.
*Beginning with its outbreak in China, encompassing America’s first recorded death in late February of 2020, and continuing throughout his presidency, Donald Trump’s cavalier dismissiveness of the COVID-19 pandemic effectively sabotaged the efforts of the scientific and medical communities to contain the virus.
*The May 25, 2020 execution style death of George Floyd, while pricking the nation’s conscience, manifesting in a demand for police reform and accountability, rather than evoking a semblance of empathy from our nominal leader, elicited a rant from Donald Trump on the liberal media and “Black Lives Matter” movement.
*Failure of the Trump Administration to adequately respond to the pandemic and “Black Lives Matter” crises emboldened the “Never Trumpers” and began to register in the declining poll numbers of Trump endorsed candidates. As for Trump, his insatiable passion for dominating the news cycle was becoming counterproductive with an electorate waking up to a daily dose of dismal news feeds. His bloated ego would not allow him to accept the inevitable, that his grip on a 2020 reelection campaign was slipping away. Though he felt betrayed when his traditional ally, Fox News, was the first major network to call the election for Joe Biden, it became all too apparent that concession was never an option for Trump. Rather than focusing on a smooth transition of power, he escalated the “stolen election” rhetoric, agitating his angry legions of followers in the process, some of whom would show no limits in doing his bidding to overturn what they considered a rigged election. The events of January 6, 2021 reveal just how painfully close they came to succeeding.
*Republican condemnation within Congress of Trump’s role in inciting the January 6th riot at the Capitol was short lived, with the exception of a sprinkling, whose sense of probity transcended unqualified partisan loyalty. While Representative Liz Cheney was ostracized by the GOP for her denouncement of the former president, Senator Ted Cruz, a Trump apologist, downplayed the magnitude of the insurrection on the pretext that the rioters were exercising their First Amendment rights. The GOP House leader, Kevin McCarthy, initially remonstrating on the floor against Trump for his involvement, ultimately withdrew his call for censure, obviously yielding to a fear of future repercussions. As he contemplates another run in 2024, Donald Trump continues to be the singular face of the Republican Party.
Peters gives only the most perfunctory treatment of such things and fixates on an episodic, personality-driven approach: then so-and-so met with so-and-so, and then so-and-so made the fateful decision to do such-and-such, and Steve Bannon this, and Sarah Palin that, and (to a lesser extent) Roger Stone and Roger Ailes the-other. Did you know that so-and-so and other-so-and-so actually go back further than you might have realized? It's the print version of the usual "horse race" journalism, eschewing rigorous history, political science, or policy analysis in favor of a selective assemblage of colorful characters, key decisions, and supposedly illuminating anecdotes and examples.
Not only that, but even on its own terms, the book is simply quite selective even in its narrative about the Republican Party. Rick Lazio (?!) gets far more discussion than Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and John Boehner combined. An ill-fated effort to build a Muslim community center near the WTC gets more coverage than the 2008 financial crisis or the Tea Party. Symptomatic of this is Peters preemptively dismissing the anti-establishment outrage at the 2008 financial recession and government response as a pointless temper tantrum, before moving on to more important topics, like Sarah Palin.
As a narrative of key players inside the Trump and proto-Trump movement, the book is a smashing success. As an analysis of how the U.S. found itself being led by Donald Trump, it's a badly blinkered narrative that imagines all but Trump, his inner circle, and the conservative movement as utterly devoid of agency or culpability.
To get a wider view, I highly recommend reading this in conjunction with Matthew Continetti's "The Right" and with Thomas Frank's "Listen, Liberal" or "The People, No."